(VNRN) – Over two consecutive days this week the son of human rights activist Bui Thi Minh Hang (Bùi Thị Minh Hằng) met with officials from the US Department of State and Freedom House to present his mother’s case and speak about the situation of prisoners of conscience in Vietnam. Tran Bui Trung (Trần Bùi Trung), who appears on Facebook as Bo Trung, was accompanied by the Vietnam Path Movement member and human rights lawyer Vi K. Tran.
Trung fully expected that by going to the U.S. to advocate for his mother, he would risk harassment upon his return. ” “Based on what the Vietnam government has done to all others upon their return to the country after attending international human rights conferences and other campaigns for release of prisoners of conscience in Vietnam, I believe I cannot avoid being held temporarily at the airport upon my return,” Trung said.
However, he added, “I have decided and prepared myself for it before I left Vietnam already. Thus, I’m not worrying much.”
Hang, 50, was arrested with two Hoa Hao Buddhism adherents on Feb 11 in Dong Thap province, in the Mekong delta, on their way to visit Nguyen Bac Truyen, a lawyer and former political prisoner. They were charged with disrupting public order for allegedly riding their motorbikes side by side on a country road. They have been under custody since.
Trung and Tran met on Aug 12 with Freedom House in D.C. Tran provided a brief evaluation on the fight to protect human rights in Vietnam in recent years. Tran also emphasized on the rising number of non-registered civil society organizations which are considered by the Vietnam government as dissident and the opposition force to the current communist regime.
Freedom House’s William Ford and Bee Shan asked many questions about Bui Thi Minh Hang’s case, including the circumstances and reasons behind her arrest. They were surprised to learn that Hang was arrested, jailed, and kept from visiting relatives just for an allegation of disrupting public order. They expressed concerns about Hang’s health, especially after multiple hunger strikes.
Freedom House’s representatives also expressed their concerns about activities of independent civil social groups in Vietnam. They were fully aware that these civil groups just had three joint meetings starting from June until now.
Freedom House stated that they, along with a few other international human right organizations, would issue a joint statement on the case of Bui Thi Minh Hang, requesting the Vietnam government to comply with international human rights standards and the Convention on Human Rights to which Vietnam is a signatory. They also expressed their desire for Vietnam to uphold its own legal standard in Hang’s upcoming trial according to the Vietnam’s Code of Criminal Procedures.
The next day, Trung and Tran met with officials from US Department of State. These officials again assured that the United States always placed human rights at issue when they engage in dialogues with Vietnam on trades and other matters.
Trung also urged the United States to continue to address all other prisoners of conscience cases in Vietnam with the Vietnamese government.